When the world is collapsing, where are you going to turn?

In my youth, I wasn’t much of a hockey player. My brother used to say that when he watched me skate he heard in his head the music from that old TV series The Dukes of Hazzard when the boys were putting one over on Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane.  It was kind of a twangy, hillbilly sound.

I don’t know why but this sound echoed through my head when I started reading the Throne speech just now. Here’s a little excerpt outlining why:

“Your predecessors, too, were summoned to this chamber at times of great crisis: as Canada struggled to claim her independence, in the shadow of war, during the depth of the Great Depression and at moments when great policy division tugged the very bonds of this union.”

So far what has been a light recession.  The PM is equating his time as the same as Sir John A. or the World War or the Great Depression.  Maybe even a hint of separation in those words.

This is crazy.  They are trying to scare people silly so all other considerations (i.e. like bringing down the government) will pale by comparison. 

I kind of like Stephen Harper, personally – but I didn’t think he would have much time for economic development in New Brunswick and so far that turns out to be correct.  Not that Paul Martin and Jean C. were overly keen.  I was in Ottawa one time and a senior guy told me that every once in while a directive would come down from on  high to “do something for Atlantic Canada”.  His voiced dripped with sarcasm when he said this but it is a metaphor for the Federal government and its relationship to New Brunswick these days. 

We need a PM that’s a partner with NB on its economic development.  New Brunswick only makes up something like 2.3% of the national population so in the spirit of McGuinty-esque politic – we only need 2.3% of the PM’s time.  That works out to about to about 43 hours a year.  Just enough time to thoughtfully consider what a serious economic development partnership would look like.

Save the hyperbole.  History seems to indicate that the more wild the rhetoric, the more likely you are to be defeated.   Obama-isms aren’t overly Canadian.

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6 Responses to When the world is collapsing, where are you going to turn?

  1. Anonymous says:

    You are correct that Ottawa throws a few crumbs to Atlantic Canada just to sustain the life support. But do we deserve any better?

    When Ottawa give us our bit of face time we use it to air every minority issue and politically motivated issue in the funnel. Instead we should learn from other provinces (eg Quebec aerospace) and say xxx is our economic development priority and we need you to adjust yyy policy and support zzz initiatives with funding.

    If we continue to present fragmented laundry lists we can expect the Feds to continue cherry picking initiatives with minor results.

    Decades of unfocused politically motivated initiatives have not worked. Let’s stop debating the issue and at least give focused economic development a try.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Besides the job growth in NB is looking better than ontario or quebec.At least what we get will be earned.No one can say ,so far he tried to buy us,or anybody.I’ll stick with that.

  3. richard says:

    “say xxx is our economic development priority and we need you to adjust yyy policy”

    Exactly; the fault is mainly our own. Sure the bigger provinces have used their clout to benefit themselves, sometimes at our expense, but that’s no excuse. The only agenda I see is to get as many short-term construction jobs as possible. There is no plan to use energy, to use natural resources, to get the high-paying white collar jobs this area needs.

  4. mikel says:

    I’d say that’s only half right. It’s the Atlantica concept that gets jobs, that’s where all the talk of ‘roads’ comes from. That’s been a very organized project of AIMS. However, the political system of canada is still what it was in the 1800’s, which means that no matter WHAT policy citizens push, the government is under no obligation to listen to them. There are variables though, when the west wanted representation, they started Reform and ultimately took over the conservative party. When Quebec was pissed off, they started the Bloc and the Party. We never hear ANYTHING from the east in the way of political movements, and with a minority government its now the best chance. So if people don’t TRY to politically represent their interests, then in some ways you can say “we get the government we deserve”. You guys are mostly white collar middle aged white guys, you’re the guys the government is MOST likely to listen to, but still we haven’t seen any kind of political activity. So, yes, in many ways you can’t be surprised with what comes out of Fredericton. Politics is RUN by ‘minority interests’, there’s virtually NO organization that represents the majority.

  5. Anonymous says:

    It has been the countries main item ,to get rid of the small businessman,the small self made entrepreneur,the small mixed farmer, the small food producer, the independent thinking person,who is more difficult to control, so live with it!

  6. mikel says:

    The post above hits it pretty much on the head. Though the claim is that they are ‘helping innovators’, the reality is that the ‘spread’ of the economy always gets smaller. I hadn’t thought about it, but thats clearly been the focus in resource management as well as agriculture, so why would other sectors be different?

    However, to challenge the main blog again, this is the FIRST time in Ontario’s history where the province is a ‘have not’. If you look at history to the first time NB was a ‘have not’ then it provides a good lesson, so if anything it is understated.

    Meanwhile, I did a quick check and the country’s deficit during 1993, the ‘big’ year when the sky was falling and we were all going to die because of the size of the deficit so we’d better axe all social spending, was 21 billion dollars. Rumours are that this year the budget could be in deficit of as high as 64 billion, but most are projecting 45 billion. That’s two to three times what it was back when media were REALLY apocalyptic about deficits (oddly enough what was horrible back then is OK now-probably because everybody accepts that government spending will mainly flow to industry).

    Granted, the economy is larger than it was in the early nineties, but a deficit is a deficit.

    Plus, I can add that a recent report claimed that fully HALF of Canada’s Biotech industries are in danger of going bankrupt this year because they can’t maintain operating costs. It’s true that THAT claim may be exagerrated, but its still worth inserting some hyperbole-especially when you consider that Canada has been UNDER funding R&D for so long. And of course as the blog points out, NB is not hurting as much in that game because it never HAD any biotech, and always WAS a ‘have not’ province. But you can’t expect the rest of the country to react like ‘well New Brunswick is getting by so there’s no reason to be excited’.

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